In my constant search for an all-in-one brew calculating program that can work across Linux, Windows, & a smart phone, I’m constantly disappointed. So, I’ve decided to search out for the best of each platform that can utilize the standard BeerXML format and import / export easily.
With that said, there are ten’s of different programs out there, but my requirements are simple.
1) Import / Export BeerXML
2) Fairly cheap / reasonably priced
So my first foray into an app for my smartphone (iPhone) was with Beer Pal. Priced at $1.99 it met the second goal, and it stated on the website that it would fulfill goal #1.
On with the review.
The first thing I wanted to do was to import one of my BeerXML recipes that I already had. This would save typing on the iPhone, and just makes more sense generally.
The important part of this is to have your BeerXML recipe available somewhere on the web or in iTunes. I did not use iTunes, as intuitively seems more cumbersome.
I did have this website, so I went to a recipe on this site on the phone, copied the web address for the file, and pasted into the box that opens up when you press “From URL”.
It worked like a champ and immediately I had the recipe.
Next, I wanted to view my grain bill & hop bill. An example would be at the home brew shop as you are picking up supplies.
Something I REALLY need and is included in Brew Pal is a hop substitution ‘chart’. How many times have I been at the home brew shop and they didn’t have the specific hop I needed. I will confer with a chart they have posted from 1985 it seems, which has few of the hops that they actually carry. This helps to solve that.
Another nice feature is a comparison of your recipe to the style guidelines from BJCP 2008, as well as the full entry for each style.I already have an app for the BJCP 2008 descriptions and likely will keep it even though it is on Brew Pal as well, just because if I want to browse the different styles, it seems easier on the stand alone app. This is still nice to have in Brew Pal though.
Well, once you have worked on a recipe, taken notes, etc you may want to export so you can access on another platform.
I know that other commercial programs out there give you this, but they charge an extra fee to ‘store’ your recipes in the cloud.
With Brew Pal, you are able to email a BeerXML file, a printable html file, or both, to yourself, or anyone you wish. Nice!
One improvement would be the ability to export the files to dropbox.
If you are a home brewer with an iPhone and were contemplating something as robust as iBrewMaster, give this a look first. It is simpler to use, and does 100% of what I need, likely for you as well.